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Great Wolf Lodge Tips: Definitely Worth a Stop in Illinois

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Gurnee

Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee, Illinois is a kid’s paradise. It has water slides, lots of activities, and plenty of upsells. While it is worth a stop, paradise is crowded. The wave pool in particular has a Walmart on Black Friday vibe. What Great Wolf Lodge tips do you need to know to plan your trip and maximize your stay?

What Great Wolf Lodge Tips Do You Need to Plan Your Trip?

1. Where is it?

2. Visit at an Off Time

3. How Many Days Should You Stay at Great Wolf Lodge?

4. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, IL Hours

5. Download the App

6. Check Out a Great Wolf Lodge Map

7. Packing Tips for Great Wolf Lodge Hotel

8. No Pets Allowed

9. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Parking is Free

10. Great Wolf Lodge Check-In Time

11. There is a Resort Fee

12. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, Illinois Rooms

13. Wi-Fi is Included

14. Get a Height Wristband

15. It is Crowded

16. Arrive Early

17. There Are Free Life Jackets

18. Return Those Great Wolf Lodge Towels

19. There Are Lockers

20. No Pool Toys Allowed

21. Water Park Attractions

22. Dry Attractions

23. Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park Activities

24. Kids Get Free Wolf Ears

25. Great Wolf Lodge Dining Options

26. They Can Accommodate Dietary Restrictions

27. Great Wolf Lodge Money Saving Tips

28. Great Wolf Lodge Illinois Day Passes

29. You Can Rent Cabanas at Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee

30. There is a Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Fitness Center

31. Check Out but Don’t Leave

32. Change and Cancellation Policy

33. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee COVID-19 Precautions

34. Add a Day at Six Flags Great America

great wolf lodge water park illinois nations drive gurnee il

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Great Wolf Lodge Tips

1. Where is Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Located?

The Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Resort in Illinois is located at 1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee, IL. It is about an hour from Chicago depending upon traffic, and a stone’s throw from Six Flags Great America.

2. Visit Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park at an Off Time

One of the most important tips for visiting Great Wolf Lodge is to visit at an off time. If you have the luxury of selecting your travel dates, pick a time that most will not. Any time school is in session, the resort will be less crowded.

3. How Long Should I Stay at Great Wolf Lodge?

The ideal length of stay varies by family, but the answer is probably one or two nights. The resort has a lot to do outside of the water area. You can easily entertain yourselves for multiple days.

Another thing to consider is how much you care about swimming without access to your room. If you stay one night, you have access to the water area for two days, but you will likely need to change in the bathroom to go home. If you can live with this, you can save a lot of money by only staying one night.

4. Great Wolf Lodge Hours of Operation

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, Il water park hours vary by the day. Check the website at the time of your visit.

5. Download the App

The Great Wolf Lodge App will give you the complete schedule of activities. These are not posted throughout the resort, so you definitely need to have it.

6. Check Out a Great Wolf Lodge Illinois Map

The resort is quite large. The attractions can be found on multiple levels, both inside and out. Check out a Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee map before you visit.

great wolf lodge chicago/gurnee - gurnee il water slides

7. Great Wolf Lodge Packing Tips

Pro tip: Check out our free Great Wolf Lodge packing list.

You don’t need that much stuff for Great Wolf Lodge. You will spend the majority of your time in swimsuits. With that said, don’t forget:

A. Sunscreen for the Great Wolf Lodge outdoor pool

B. Goggles

C. A waterproof phone case if you want to take pictures in the pool

D. Gym shoes and socks for the ropes course

E. A separate swim bag for check-in and check-out when you don’t have access to your Great Wolf Lodge room

8. No Pets Allowed

Is Great Wolf Lodge pet-friendly? No. It is not. Only service animals are allowed on the property. Your dog wouldn’t fit properly on a tube anyway.

9. Parking is Free

Parking is included with your resort fee, and it is ample.

10. Check In

The Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, IL check-in time is technically 4:00 p.m., but if your room is ready, you can get in early.

Pro Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee tip: You can start swimming as soon as 1:00 p.m. even if your room is not yet ready. Pack a separate swim bag and leave the rest of your stuff in the car.

11. There is a Resort Fee

As of the time of this writing, Great Wolf Lodge charges a resort fee of $29.99 per night.

great wolf lodge chicago waterpark

12. Great Wolf Lodge Illinois Rooms

The hotel labels all of its Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee rooms as suites. It is taking liberties in doing so. If the price difference between the room classes is negligible, consider upgrading. The resort is heavily themed. You might as well keep that going into your room.

Pro Great Wolf Lodge stay tip: All rooms contain a hair dryer, mini-refrigerator, and coffee maker.

Bonus pro tip: Great Wolf Lodge hotel rooms include water park passes for all people in your party for every day of your stay. If you stay one night, you get passes for two days.

Extra bonus pro tip: Reserve a Pack and Play before you arrive to ensure you get one.

The following Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee hotel room types are available:

Standard Great Wolf Lodge Suites

Deluxe Queen Suite

This room has a studio set up as you would find in any other hotel. It includes two queen beds and a place no one wants to sleep twin sleeper chair.

Maximum number of people: Five

Great Wolf Lodge Family Suite

The Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Family Suite is basically the Deluxe Queen, but with a full sofa sleeper instead of a twin.

Maximum number of people: Six

Deluxe Family Suite

The only things distinguishing the Deluxe Family Suite from the regular Family Suite are that the sleeper sofa is in a different room and there are two televisions. You must walk through the bedroom area to access the bathroom, so privacy is somewhat limited.

Maximum number of people: Six

Great Wolf Lodge Themed Rooms

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Wolf Den Suite

The Wolf Den Suite comes with one queen bed, a full sleeper sofa, and themed bunk beds tucked into the wall to give the illusion of a kids’ private area. It comes with two televisions, one of which is in the kids’ area.

Maximum number of people: Six

Great Wolf Lodge Junior Cabin Suite

The Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Junior Cabin Suite has the same general setup as the Wolf Den Suite with slightly different beds. This room features one queen bed, a twin sleeper sofa, and both a twin bed and a set of bunk beds in the kids’ area.

Maximum number of people: Six

great wolf lodge chicago rooms

Premium Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Suites

Deluxe Great Wolf Lodge Wolf Den Suite

Two adjoining rooms Deluxe Wolf Den Suite is really two rooms with the door that is normally locked open. It includes one room with two queen beds and a full sleeper sofa, another room with one queen bed and a full sleeper sofa, and one set of bunk beds in a kids’ area.

Since this is really two rooms, you get two bathrooms.

Maximum number of people: Twelve

Deluxe Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Cabin Suite

Another two rooms smashed together Deluxe Cabin Suite has one room with two queen beds and a full sleeper sofa, another room with one queen bed and a twin sleeper sofa, and a kids’ area with one twin bed and a set of bunk beds. This room also features two bathrooms.

Maximum number of people: Twelve

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Grizzly Bear Suite

The Grizzly Bear Suite is an actual suite, as opposed to two adjoining rooms. It features a king-sized bed and private bathroom, a second bedroom with two queen beds, and a living room with a full-size sleeper sofa. It also has an additional bathroom and three televisions.

Note: This suite has a microwave, but not a full kitchen as one may expect. It also does not feature a private themed kids’ area, so this may not be the best option with young kids.

Maximum number of people: Eight

Deluxe Grizzly Bear Suite

The Deluxe Grizzly Bear Suite is similar to the regular Grizzly Bear suite, except bigger with an additional half bath.

Maximum number of people: Eight

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Evergreen Family Suite

The Evergreen Family Suite is designed to cram more people into the suite. It has a bedroom with two queen beds, a second bedroom with two queen beds and a twin sleeper sofa, and a living room with a twin sleeper sofa. It includes two bathrooms and three televisions.

Maximum number of people: Eleven

pictures of great wolf lodge water park

13. Wi-Fi is Included

Wi-fi is included with your resort room fee.

14. Height Wristband

Is your child on the short side? Have them measured and get a wristband so they don’t have to be checked every time they want to go down a slide.

15. It is Crowded

Great Wolf Lodge is huge, and it is also crowded. You will not be able to hang out in a lounge chair and watch your child swim from the side. The sooner you come to terms with this fact, the better.

16. Arrive Early

The most important of all the Great Wolf Lodge hacks is to arrive at the water park early. It is at its least crowded upon opening. Swim first thing, then take an afternoon break.

Pro tip: Get a tube and go on the big Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee water slides as soon as you arrive. They will not be readily available all day.

great wolf lodge pictures pool

17. There Are Free Great Wolf Lodge Life Jackets

Free life jackets are available. You do not need to pack floaties.

18. Return Those Towels

Does Great Wolf Lodge provide towels? Yes, but they come with a catch.

There are free towels in the water park area, but you have to scan them out, and you get charged if you take them out of the water area. Your children cannot walk with them back to the room.

19. There Are Lockers

There are small lockers available in the water park. They will not hold your luggage. Skip these and leave your items in your room or car.

20. No Pool Toys Allowed

Outside pool toys are not allowed. Leave them at home.

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21. Water Park Attractions

The water park area has something for everyone, from babies to thrill seekers. It is kept at 84 degrees.

Alberta Falls

Alberta Falls is a bigger slide on a tube, but you can ride double, so it is more family-friendly than some of the others. Overall, the ride is smooth and can be tolerated by most people. You are deposited into a pool that is three and a half feet deep. Don’t toss your small child over the side of the tube haphazardly if he or she cannot swim.

Note: You must carry your tube up the stairs yourself to ride.

Pro tip: Arrive early to claim a tube.

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee height requirement: 42″ to ride with someone age 14 and up, 48″ to ride alone

Weight limit: Maximum of 250 pounds for a single tube and 400 pounds combined in a double tube with no one person weighing more than 250 pounds

Number of riders: One to two

Chinook Cave

Chinook Cave is a small play area with basketball hoops. The water is four feet deep. Kids aren’t that great at basketball, so balls constantly fly out of the water. You will need to exit the pool and engage in a footrace with another kid trying to steal your ball on a regular basis. Make sure you stretch.

Pro tip: This little area doesn’t sound that thrilling, right? Despite this, it fills up and balls go quickly. Arrive early if this is important to your kids.

great wolf lodge gurnee photos basketball

Coyote Cannon

Coyote Cannon is a Great Wolf Lodge water slide on a tube that essentially flushes you down a toilet. It comes with a substantial drop. You are deposited into water that is three and a half feet deep. It is quite fun, but not for the faint of heart.

Pro tip: Arrive early to grab a tube. You will be met with competition later in the day.

Height requirement: 48″

Weight limit: 300 pounds for a single tube and 400 pounds combined in a double tube

Number of riders: One to two

Crooked Creek

Crooked Creek is a Great Wolf Lodge lazy river. The water is three feet deep throughout.

Pro tip: The float may be relaxing, but the elbows you have to throw to get a tube will not. Arrive early.

Cub Paw Pool

Cub Paw Pool is a shallow area designed to be frequented only by small children. This won’t be exciting for anyone that is old enough for public school. The area is small, but a place to ensure your toddler will not be trampled will be welcome.

Note: All guests must be accompanied by someone age 14 and up, but that almost definitely would have happened anyway.

Double Whirlwind

Double Whirlwind is a Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee slide with a family-sized raft. The rafts are brought up by a machine, making the trip up the stairs with small children more pleasant. The ride isn’t too intense, but if you hit a curve at the wrong time, the movement can be abrupt. You may get really wet, but you may also not get wet at all.

Pro tip: My son fully left his seat and would have flown out of the raft completely if not caught by my husband. Hold on to your kids and try to evenly distribute weight throughout the raft.

Height requirement: 42″ to ride with someone age 14 and up, 48″ to ride alone

Weight requirement: Maximum combined weight of 800 pounds

Number of riders: Two to five

Fort Mackenzie

Fort Mackenzie is a play structure that can be enjoyed by all who enjoy getting buckets of water dumped on their heads. The water surrounding the structure is shallow. It has multiple slides connected to it and some cute theming to boot.

Note: The water park says someone aged 14 and up must accompany all kids at Fort Mackenzie. Does this actually happen? No. It does not.

Height requirement: There isn’t a height requirement to play in the area, but kids under 42″ need to be supervised by an adult on the highest slides.

pictures of great wolf lodge gurnee il bucket

Otter Run

Otter Run is the most intense of all the Great Wolf Lodge slides. It is fast, and you will most certainly take some water to the face.

Pro tip: You ride single without a tube. This means nothing is shielding your back from the areas where they welded the pieces together. I wouldn’t say the seams are smooth. This slide is perfect if you like the feeling of rubber bands snapping against your back multiple times per second. If that’s not your bag, stick to the water slides with tubes.

Height requirement: 48″

Weight limit: 300 pounds

Number of riders: One

Raccoon Lagoon

Raccoon Lagoon is a Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee outdoor pool area. The water is three and a half to four feet deep throughout.

Pro tip: Great Wolf Lodge tries to dress this up to divert some crowds outside, but really, it’s just a pool. If you need a break from the heavy crowds, this is the place to go.

Note: All kids are supposed to be supervised by someone age 14 and up in this area.

River Canyon Run

River Canyon Run is another family slide on a raft. It is slightly milder than Double Whirlwind, but the idea is the same. You may or may not get wet.

Pro tip: The line for River Canyon Run requires you to climb the same stairs as Double Whirlwind. This line is almost always shorter. Veer in that direction.

Bonus pro tip: Hold on to your kids, and try to distribute weight evenly throughout the raft to avoid a slingshot.

Height requirement: 42″ to ride with someone age 14 and up, 48″ to ride alone

Weight limit: Maximum combined weight of 800 pounds

Number of riders: Two to five

Slap Tail Pond

Where relaxing vacations go to die Slap Tail Pond is the resident Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee wave pool. It. Is. Crowded. There are lifeguards, but I highly doubt they can see everyone. It is zero depth entry, but it goes as deep as five feet.

Note: I would not let my kids go in here unsupervised. The potential for getting sucked under the water unnoticed is too great.

Height requirement: Great Wolf Lodge says guests under 48″ must wear a life jacket. Do they actually enforce this? I’m really not sure.

great wolf lodge tips wave pool

22. Dry Attractions

Unlike its competitor Timber Ridge in Lake Geneva, Great Wolf Lodge has a ton of things to do after the water park closes. Most are overpriced individually, but there are packages to help you save.

Great Wolf Lodge Build-A-Bear Workshop

This is basically mall store meets wolf dolls. End of excitement.

Great Wolf Lodge price: The basic bear is $29.99, accessories vary

Howl in One Mini Golf

Howl in One Mini Golf is a teeny, tiny, golf course. There is absolutely nothing special about it. It is pricey for what you get. I would not do this as a single attraction. Consider a package.

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois price: $7.99 per person

Howler’s Peak Ropes Course

The Great Wolf Lodge ropes course spans multiple levels. The top one is high. Young employees with lots of energy regularly navigate the course to rescue terrified children. If your child is afraid of heights, this is not for you.

Pro tip: Don’t forget gym shoes. Flip-flops won’t cut it.

Height requirement: 45″ when accompanied by an adult, 48″ to go alone

Price: $14.99 for a single climb, $19.99 unlimited for one day

Great Wolf Lodge MagiQuest

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee MagiQuest is a poor man’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Kids choose a wand and walk around the hotel on a quest. You can’t walk more than ten feet without seeing a child violently flicking his or her wand at a random treasure chest.

You need to buy both the wand and the game. There are unlimited packages for the length of your stay, or you can pay by the game.

Pro tip: If you visit twice, bring the wand back. You don’t need to buy a new one every time.

Price: Great Wolf Lodge wands start at $17.99 and games start at $13.99

Northern Lights Arcade

The Great Wolf Lodge arcade has quite a few games from which to pick. They are not cheap. The cost is basically highway robbery. You will blow through your first card in no time. Have your child determine his or her priorities before you start playing if you want to stick to a budget.

Oliver’s Mining Co.

Oliver’s Mining Co. allows kids to splash in some water to look for rocks. This is located near the arcade off the main drag, so it is easier to avoid if you don’t want to pay for it.

Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall

Rustic Ridge is a 21-foot climbing wall. Your kids have likely seen better.

Height requirement: 48″

Great Wolf Lodge pricing: $7.99 per climb

Ten Paw Alley

Ten Paw Alley is a small bowling alley with miniature bowling balls. Eh.

Note: You do not need special shoes to play.

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, IL price: $7.00 per person per round

great wolf lodge gurnee activities ropes course

23. Free Great Wolf Lodge Activities

Great Wolf Lodge offers free activities throughout the day. These vary by the day, but may include:

A. Character meet and greets

B. Storytime

C. Great Wolf Lodge yoga

D. Dance party (things get weird)

E. Arts and crafts

F. Bingo

Pro tip: Download the Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee app before your visit to access the schedule.

Story Time

24. Free Great Wolf Lodge Ears

Do you get free wolf ears at Great Wolf Lodge? You sure do. You can pick them up in the gift shop.

25. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, IL Restaurants

Can you leave Great Wolf Lodge to eat? Absolutely. You should.

Great Wolf Lodge has more options than most, but do not feel obligated to eat there. There are countless options within a few minutes of the resort that will likely offer better, more affordable options.

Note: You cannot bring outside food into the pool area. Eat in your room.

On-property Great Wolf Lodge restaurants include:

Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Barnwood

Barnwood serves dinner and cocktails on select nights.

Ben & Jerry’s

This is an ice cream parlor with a pared-down menu.

Pro Great Wolf Lodge food tip: A scoop of ice cream is included with the deal passes.

Campfire Kitchen

Campfire Kitchen is a buffet that serves breakfast and dinner.

Dunkin’ Donuts

You already know what this is.

Great Wolf Candy Company

Great Wolf Candy Company allows your child to fill a cup with different kinds of candy from various chutes.

Pro tip: One of these cups are included with the pass deals.

Hungry As A Wolf

Hungry As A Wolf is takeout pizza and salads. I give them credit for choosing this name that is just so close to the name of one of the best 80s songs ever without actually ripping it off.


Timbers is fast food in the pool area. You can probably picture what this looks like.

The Watering Hole

The Watering Hole is a bar in the Great Wolf Lodge Illinois water park area.

s in great wolf lodge gurnee

26. They Can Accommodate Dietary Restrictions

Great Wolf Lodge can accommodate dietary restrictions. The kitchens are peanut free naturally, and they have separate prep areas for allergy meals. You can email the resort ahead of time or ask to speak to the chef when you arrive at the restaurant.

27. Great Wolf Lodge Savings Tips

How much is Great Wolf Lodge per night? Kind of a lot, but there are several ways to save.

Great Wolf Lodge Booking Tips to Save

Direct Bookings

The hotel offers Great Wolf Lodge Illinois deals directly periodically. Check the website at the time of booking to see if anything works for you.

Pro tip: Any of the Great Wolf Lodge packages that come with fluff, like a plush character, are almost definitely not worth your time.

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois Groupon

You can often find a good Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, IL deal on Groupon, particularly for weekday visits.

Military and Government Great Wolf Lodge Discounts

The resort offers discounts to all military (both active and retired), and emergency and medical personnel, among others. Check to see if you qualify.

Third-Party Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Bookings

Great Wolf Lodge can be booked on third-party sites like Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Tripadvisor, or Expedia.

Great Wolf Lodge Email List

The hotel emails discounts periodically. Sign up for the free newsletter to be notified of Great Wolf Lodge deals.

AAA Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Discount

Does Great Wolf Lodge offer AAA discounts? Yes, you can book Great Wolf Lodge at a discount with your AAA card.

Use Miles and Points

The idea of miles and points can be intimidating at first, but they can save you a ton of money.

American Express

Great Wolf Lodge can be booked through the American Express travel portal with Membership Rewards points. These points can be earned with a slew of American Express cards.

Capital One

The Capital One Venture cards allow you to erase travel expenses from your statement. You can book Great Wolf Lodge direct, then remove it when it posts.


Great Wolf Lodge is available in Chase’s travel portal. You can book with Ultimate Rewards points, which can be earned with several cards.

Pro tip: If you have taken out or been listed as an authorized user on five credit cards in the last 24 months, Chase will decline you. Wait to apply for Chase cards until you are below that number.


A Great Wolf Lodge vacation can be booked through Citi’s travel portal with ThankYou points. You can earn ThankYou points with several cards.


Save on Dry Great Wolf Lodge Attractions

If you want to purchase some of the extras, consider one of the following passes. The individual items add up fast. Your kids will be able to see all of them as they walk the property, so you won’t get away with skipping things without a fight.

Pro tip: You do not need to purchase a pass for everyone in your party.

Bonus pro tip: If you don’t want to do a specific thing that comes with your pass, ask an employee to swap it out. He or she can refuse, but will likely accommodate you.

Great Wolf Lodge Wolf Pass

As of the time of this writing, the Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Wolf Pass is $69.99 per person and includes the following:

A. One MagiQuest game

B. One classic wand, standard topper, OR Magi belt

C. One candy cup

D. One game of Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee bowling

E. $5 at Northern Lights Arcade

F. One visit to Howler’s Peak Ropes Course

G. One climb on the Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall

H. One scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s

I. One game of mini golf

J. One mining experience

Great Wolf Lodge Paw Pass

As of the time of this writing, the Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Paw Pass is $54.99 per person and includes the following:

A. One MagiQuest game

B. One classic wand, standard topper, OR Magi belt

C. One candy cup

D. $5 at Northern Lights Arcade

E. One scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s

F. One mining experience

Pup Pass

As of the time of this writing, the Pup Pass is $49.99 per person and includes the following:

A. One candy cup

B. $5 at the Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee arcade

C. One scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s

D. One Build-a-Bear animal

Rock Wall

Save on Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Dining

The hotel is located near Six Flags Great America and Gurnee Mills, a massive mall. There are plenty of restaurants near Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, Illinois. Do not feel the need to eat on the property. With that said, if you want to eat there, you can purchase a package before arrival to save.

As of the time of this writing, you can purchase a Platinum, Gold, or Silver Dining Deal. These deals give your room a dining credit at a discount. Prices vary by the date. This is unlikely to make sense for you, but check the price when booking if you are interested.

You can also purchase a deal for Great Wolf Lodge breakfast only. Prices vary by the date.

Pro tip for traveling to Great Wolf Lodge: The dining deals must be pre-purchased. You cannot add this during your stay.


28. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee, IL Day Passes to the Water Park

Can you go to the Great Wolf Lodge for a day? Yes, you can. If you don’t want to spend the night, day passes are available. You can purchase half-day or full-day passes. Prices vary by the day.

Is a Great Wolf Lodge day pass worth it? I am hard-pressed to see how it is if you have a group larger than one to two people. A one-night stay in the hotel gets your entire party passes for both the day you check in and the day you check out. Unless you can get a great deal, I would spend the night and embrace the full experience.

29. Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee Cabanas

You can rent a cabana in the pool area. They include four water bottles, towels (which are free anyway), a deck of cards to use during your stay and then presumably give back (why?), a safe, a TV, and a mini-refrigerator. All of these things can be found in your room.

You have to call to reserve it, but data points suggest this will cost you more than $100 for the day. This does not seem worthwhile to me, but you do you.

30. There is a Great Wolf Lodge Fitness Center

Does Great Wolf Lodge have a gym? Yes. You will be climbing stairs pretty much all day in the water park, but if you need more of a workout, there is a gym.

Note: The gym is currently closed due to COVID-19.

31. Checkout

Great Wolf Lodge check-out time is 11:00 a.m.

Pro tip for going to Great Wolf Lodge Resort: You can swim the entire checkout day. You don’t have to leave after you lose access to your room.

Great Wolf Lodge Late Check Out

Hoping for a late checkout? It’s going to cost you. A lot. A 2:00 p.m. checkout starts at $79.99 per reservation as of the time of this writing. This is stupid expensive. Do not reward Great Wolf Lodge’s bad behavior by paying this charge. Pack a day bag, leave your luggage in your car, and change in the bathroom.

Mini golf

32. Change and Cancellation Policy

You can make changes to your reservation for 24 hours after you make it for free. After that, it’ll cost you.

Change Policy

There is a $25 fee to make changes more than eight days before your trip, and a $50 fee to make changes within eight days of your travel date. The remainder of your deposit will be held for twelve months.

Great Wolf Lodge Cancellation Policy

If you want to outright cancel, there is a $50 fee within eight days of your trip and a $100 fee between three and seven days from your trip. If you cancel within three days, you lose your first night’s deposit.

Flex Trip

Flex Trip lets you cancel your Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee reservation until midnight two days before your trip at no cost. Frankly, this should be the policy regardless, and I find it annoying that they ask you to pay $19.99 per Great Wolf Lodge reservation as of the time of this writing to have some flexibility given the current market.

33. Is It Safe to Go to Great Wolf Lodge During COVID?

Protocols are constantly changing. Check them at the time of your trip. As of the time of this writing, the following rules are in place:

A. Face masks are required for unvaccinated guests over the age of two

B. Face masks are recommended but not required for vaccinated guests

C. Unvaccinated guests should practice social distancing

D. Hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the property

E. A mandatory wellness questionnaire must be completed before check-in

You need to decide whether you feel safe taking your family during COVID. There are some restrictions in place, but no one is wearing a mask in the water park area, and it is not uncrowded. There is also essentially an honors system in place for face masks. No one is checking vaccination cards. If this makes you uncomfortable, I would postpone.

34. Add a Day at Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America is directly across the highway from Great Wolf Lodge in Illinois. You already spent the weekend with screaming kids at the water park. Why not check out and spend the day with screaming kids at a hot theme park?

Final Thoughts – Great Wolf Lodge Tips and Tricks

Great Wolf Lodge is a bit of a zoo, but it is fun for families. Incorporate the Great Wolf Lodge tips that help you, with the most important of the tips being to shop around to get the best deal, eat off property, and download the app so you don’t miss the free activities. If your kids will want to do the extras, price out a deal pass before you start spending money.

Is Great Wolf Lodge worth the money? It is if you can get a discounted rate. Give it a try.

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  1. We love great wolf lodge. The Junior cabin suite has been great for our family of 6. Can’t say enough about the height wristbands, so worth it. My kids know exactly what they can do and I don’t have to worry about them trying something they aren’t ready for. Awesome travel guide.

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